China is a “selective partner,” “competitor” and “systemic rival”, Portuguese foreign minister Augusto Santos Silva said while addressing a webinar with foreign minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday.
“The way we see institutions, the way we see political fundamentals, the way we see human rights, the way we see the role of civil society is very different when you see from the point of view of Brussels or when you speak from the view of Beijing,” Silva said at a webinar organised by the Observer Research Foundation think tank. “That is why in these crucial areas, our partner in Asia is not China, our partner in Asia is India,” he added. Jaishankar took a more restrained approach and said, “In the past 25 years, the rise of China has been one of the defining transformational trends.”
Jaishankar emphasised the importance of open supply chains, specially in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that to scale up vaccine production to meet the challenge of inoculating the world, Europe needed to keep open supply chains as well as consider a waiver of patents as proposed by India and South Africa at the WTO. The minister said without “dramatically” scaling up production, the world would not be able to deal with the challenges of today.
This has been a recurring message that India has put out in the world.